Most—indeed, if not all---Vietnam veterans still oppose actress Jane Fonda’s going to North Vietnam in 1972 and posing for a still infamous photograph of her wearing an NVA helmet next to an anti-aircraft gun that was shooting down US Air Force planes attacking our then enemy.
For instance, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6063 at Toms River, NJ erected a sign that expressed the feelings of many vets across the country (including this one) that depicted the famed black POW/MIA flag in 1988 that stated “’Hanoi Jane’ Apologizes. Let Her Tell It to Them. When They Accept it, We’ll Accept it.”
But what did she actually say there? Here is a transcript of her radio broadcast from Hanoi of Aug. 22, 1972, provided by Furr Grover of the Vietnam Home Page Website:
“This is Jane Fonda. During my two week visit in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, I’ve had the opportunity to visit a great many places and speak to a large number of people from all walks of life---workers, peasants, students, artists and dancers, historians, journalists, film actresses, soldiers, militia girls, members of the women’s union, writers.
“I visited the Dam Xuac agricultural coop, where the silk worms are also raised and thread is made. I visited a textile factory, a kindergarten in Hanoi. The beautiful Temple of Literature was where I saw traditional dances and heard songs of resistance. I also saw an unforgettable ballet and guerillas training bees in the south to attack enemy soldiers. The bees were danced by women, and they did their jobs well.
“In the shadow of the Temple of Literature, I saw Vietnamese actors and actresses perform the second act of Arthur Miller’s play All My Sons, and this was very moving to me---the fact that artists here are translating and performing American plays, while US imperialists are bombing their country. I cherish the memory of the blushing militia girls on the roofs of their factory, encouraging one of their sisters as she sang a song praising the blue sky of Vietnam—these women, who are so gentle and poetic; whose voices are so beautiful, but who, when American planes are bombing their city become such good fighters.
“I cherish the way a farmer, evacuated from Hanoi, without hesitation, offered me---an American---their best individual bomb shelter, while US bombs fell nearby. The daughter and I, in fact, shared the shelter wrapped in each other’s arms, cheek against cheek. It was on the road back from Nam Dinh, where I had witnessed the systematic destruction of civilian targets----schools, hospitals, pagodas, the factories, house, and the dike system.
“As I left the United States two weeks ago, Nixon was again telling the American people that he was winding down the war, but in the rubble strewn streets of Nam Dinh, his words echoed with sinister (words indistinct) of a true killer, and like the young Vietnamese woman I held in my arms clinging to me tightly---and I pressed my cheek against hers---I thought, this is a war against Vietnam perhaps, but the tragedy is America’s.
“One thing that I have learned beyond a shadow of a doubt since I’ve been in this country is that Nixon will never be able to break the spirit of these people; he’ll never be able to turn Vietnam, north and south, into a neo-colony of the United States by bombing,
by invading, by attacking in any way. One has only to go into the countryside and listen to the peasants describe the lives they led before the revolution to understand why every bomb that is dropped only strengthens their determination to resist.
“I’ve spoken to many peasants who talked about the days when their parents had to sell themselves to landlords as virtual slaves, when there were very few schools and much illiteracy, inadequate medical care, when they were not masters of their own lives.
“But now, despite the bombs, despite the crimes being created---being committed against them by Richard Nixon, these people own their own land, build their own schools----the children learning, literacy---illiteracy is being wiped out, there is no more prostitution as there was during the time when this was a French colony. In other words, the people have taken power into their own hands, and they are controlling their own lives.
“And after 4,000 years of struggling against nature and foreign invaders—and the last 25 years, prior to the revolution, of struggle against French colonialism---I don’t think that the people of Vietnam are about to compromise in any way, shape, or form about the freedom and independence of their country, and I think Richard Nixon would do well to read Vietnamese history, particularly their poetry, written by Ho Chi Minh.”
Ms. Fonda’s activities in the Vietnam anti-war movement virtually ended her screen career in the United States, but she put out a best-selling exercise video and married Turner Broadcasting Company mogul Ted Turner following her divorce from anti-war activist Tom Hayden, later a California state senator.
Following her divorce from Turner, Ms. Fonda published her autobiography, and made a return to acting in the films Monster-in-Law with actresses Jennifer Lopez and Wanda Sykes, and then Georgia Rule with Lindsay Lohan.
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